Saturday, January 17, 2009

The opposite of discouragement

I've never experienced highs and lows in life like I have here in the field. Life is anything but even-keeled. I never know quite how we're doing...are we being effective? Is there more we can do? Does anyone even care? How much harder can daily life get? Where are the thank-you's? Some days it is enough to make me wonder what the heck I was thinking when we picked up and moved down here four years ago.

No sooner does that thought enter my mind than God begins to provide encouragement...

We recently went to a New Year's Day pig roast, which is really a gathering of missionaries throughout Costa Rica at the house of our friend Bob Wilmarth, owner of the infamous Goat Farm (one smell and you know why it's "infamous"). We often feel somewhat isolated down here in Puerto because we don't have much contact with other missionaries and their families...people that understand what it's like. It was great to spend a day hanging out and talking with people that can identify with the different issues we face on a daily basis. To hear a seasoned missionary say..."Don't worry about takes at least four years for most missionaries to even begin being effective where they are because there is so much to learn and so many hurdles to overcome" is so encouraging. To have someone else that has been working in country for many years tell us, "Wow, you guys picked the hardest place in the entire country to start a ministry" speaks volumes. To watch our kids play for hours with all of the other missionary kids was priceless. All in all, it was very encouraging.

Other encouragements...we were invited by a friend we met at the pig roast, to speak to a group of college students from Messiah College this past Tuesday. I hope they were blessed, but I know that we certainly were as we not only had an opportunity to meet some neat people and to share with them what God had done in our lives, we also had the opportunity to listen to a man that grew up in the jungle here in Costa Rica as the son of missionaries to the Cabecar Indians, an indigenous group that lives in the mountains behind Puerto. His story was very inspiring. He has gone through a lot in his life and has put up with things we can't even imagine in order to share the love of Christ with others. We felt priveledged to be a part of the evening.

Reality quickly destroys the romantic idea of "missions"...whatever that is. There is only one thing that matters in the end...the call of God. Were you called? You had better go. If you weren't called...if you're not sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has put a calling on your life you better stay home because without the surety of a calling, there are better, simpler and easier ways to pass time. Don't do it because it sounds a good thing to do. It will destroy you. Living here has helped me in some small way to identify with the subjects of Hebrews Chapter 11. I don't know if we will ever see the results we hope to see in our lifetime, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has placed us here. Case in point? Barring something unforseen, after having to wait a full year since she accepted Christ, we'll baptize Anastasia tomorrow night before house church. One small drop in a very deep bucket but another huge source of encouragement.


Daniel and Sarah Barrett said...

Thanks for the encouraging words. The family and I are now in San Jose at ILE for a semester to work on our Spanish. I thought about you the other day as I was just up the road in Limon picking up our car that we shipped. Our plan is to move down to Jaco in May. Please keep us in your prayers as we adjust to being here. ( was the guy you met from the mountains last name Jones? I know a guy from back home who grew up above puerto and his brother is still there.)

email us when you get a minute-

Anonymous said...

Barrett and the Girls,

I am encouraged on this end reading your posts.

You guys are not forgotten down there.

I am looking forward to the teams that we will bring down this year. We are thinking about how we can serve you and the people in fulfilling God's call.